Exit Confusion (Story #2)

Have just had "the big talk" with my wife. This was unplanned and caught me by surprise. I'm very confused in the outcome.
My decision to leave was back in October, and I very, very nearly just walked out then, with no preparation other than actually renting a self store unit to throw some possessions into. At the last minute, my rational side stepped in and averted this "crash and burn" event.
Since then I have maintained control of my emotions, survived Christmas and was planning towards an exit in March. If you read my original story, you can see that my wife does not want to communicate with me about anything, so I wanted to open up at least a little low level dialogue now, to make things less of a shock when the crunch comes in March. The talk a few days ago went like this......
Me: "we need to talk"
Wife: "about what?!"
Me: "about how things are between us"
Wife: "I think I want to leave you..............."
Me: "That's how I feel too....."
This was a relief - when imagining how such a discussion would go, I had envisioned an eruption of pure seething anger and receiving an aggressive physical attack.
Several hours of discussion followed with outpouring of emotions (mainly from the wife - as I stayed reasonably calm and rational). Unbelievably, the wife declared her strong and constant love for me (WTF???) - but then she could not identify one single tangible expression of this towards me over many years! For me, I was once "in love" but this has been gone for so many years that I'm now a little cynical and can't ever see myself feeling real love for another person again.
Much of the talk revolved around my job which I hate, but which I feel trapped  to due to the good income level that it delivers. The W has never cared about my job satisfaction and really just wanted me to put up with the sh!t at work and bring home the money for her to spend. Separating would put pressure on continuing in the job, and would setback my recent small steps towards self employment. Somehow our discussion circled around to how I should get my business up and running so that I could feel better about myself and then this would allow us to get our marriage sorted out. I'm encouraged by the wife's interest in supporting my career change, and there is an element of logic in this leading to an improved relationship, BUT.... 1) I was reasonably certain that I am beyond wanting to sort out this marriage. 2) I don't believe the W is offering more than lip service towards supporting me in the employment transition.
Finally I raised the question of sex, as the W did not even remotely go near this topic in her dialogue. Unbelievably, she seemed to have no understanding of how few times this had been over the previous 10 years, and was convinced that things were ok until just the last year. Her self delusion on this was strong - forgetting her refusing, all our arguments and the plain reality that having sex a few times a year does not add up to a healthy sex life.
We rounded things off with discussion about practicalities of separating - finances, housing options and so on. This is difficult, as things will be tight and there is not really anything that will change this in the future (no equity to unlock as we don't own a house to sell).
OK - I'm thinking this went better than expected, we can work together to achieve a smooth separation. However................The next day, she apologises for how she has been over the years and how she is always angry and how she hates herself and has felt unattractive after menopause.
More like the opposite in my view - she loves her own image! I have come to realise that she is an absolute narcissist, and this includes an obsessive compulsive control of the tidyness of every square inch of the house. No item of mine (like a book or pen or my glasses)  will be tolerated and  said object will be immediately removed and hidden from sight (this drives me nuts - makes me feel total rejection).
I'm not ready for an argument so I give her a hug, and this feels slightly like the start of a reconciliation, but I'm not convinced. I will keep going with the exit plans, but see how this unfolds. I'm confused that I'm even considering anything except an exit. The possibility of achieving an exit from my job is probably the only thing that is drawing me in. Do I hate my job more than my marriage? possibly........

AloneInUK AloneInUK
51-55, M
7 Responses Jan 29, 2013

Hi. You are not alone in the UK. I'm say two years ahead of you. Same narcissist. Be very careful my friend. Her hidden agenda is not fully on display. Remember the first loss is the cheapest. Baz's expression tread your own path is probably urgent in your case and it's time to head for the hills. I did and the X is still leading the posse trying to round me up....

Without any knowledge of your type of work or your wherweabouts, my suggestion might make little practical sense. But can you not seek a job doing the same thing but in a different environment? Do you only have a choice of stay where you are or start your own business?

Also, money is a huge factor in our lives. But unless you are considering a move to a position where the money is insufficient for basic living needs, you might find a change to a lower paid job is not the crisis uit appears.

Of course, without knowledge of your personal situation, this is all speculation on my part. But I urge you to consider job changing BEFORE you leave if your wife has legal rights to a part of your wage for her support. I imagine you might have difficulty renegotiating the amount once you ARE separated.

Thanks enna. I have already been thinking along these lines, but not yet found a solution that works. As I expressed in my story, I probably feel more distress from the work environment than from my marriage (because I have turned off and numbed myself to any pain from the failed relationship). I work in a large corporate multinational, and I want to escape the large company office environment. Your idea of a lower paid job (at a smaller company) could be a step in the right direction without the immediate pressure of starting my own business.

Ooooo, she really knows where your buttons are, and she pushed every one. Don't just chalk up your confused reaction to the nebulous category of emotion. You'll feel better, and clearer about your exit plan, if you examine how she made you doubt.

"I have come to realise that she is an absolute narcissist" - you say.

If this is a factual statement, then you'd do well to abandon any and all hope of your marriage ever being anything better than a **** up.

Tread your own path.

Hi Bazz. I'm only going from what is posted in stories about narcissim on EP, so this seems likely but not absolutely certain. I think your conclusion is correct though.

I have been out 6 days now.. We had the same talk 4 weeks before I moved out. I told him I was moving 6 months earlier but I guess he didn't believe me. 4 weeks before I did move I told him I had leased a condo and would be moving in 4 weeks.. the things I had been beggin, b*tching, and doing any and everything I could to get him to do around the house he started 5 days before I moved. I did not help. If he had made more changes 6 months ago I MAY not have gone through with it but 5 days please... It was too late when I told him 4 weeks earlier. Everything was signed.. Don't give her your move out date.. see how much she changes between now and then and you will have your answer.. You may HATE your job.. most of us do but it also gives of the freedom to make our plans a reality. You will one day have your own business but if you are still in a marriage you hate you will still not be truly happy. Go for the personal happiness and you will have the support you need to do what ever you want in a business. Wishing you luck. Stay strong.

Thanks for the feedback - I need to stay rational about this and not be caught off guard by a transient emotional response. You are right about sticking to my current job - I need something that is secure at the moment.

Get your exit plan sorted out. Time will tell if she is for real. You can decide then if you still want to execute it.

I'm also confused that you are even considering anything except an exit.

You are right. An exit is my plan - the confusion is from my emotional side. There is a sort of relief and relaxed feeling of compassion towards the wife now that we have talked. In some ways it would be easier to leave if we were angry and fighting against each other. I will get back on track in a few days I'm sure.

Be careful, it might seem friendly now but the winds can turn bitter. Although she seems to be taking some responsibility, it is not like she is taking much action herself to repair the damage, and your wife's support for your career change doesn't require much action by her besides pretending to go along with it. If you start to see tangible expressions of love, that might put you off track for a bit, but a friendly talk is, as you said, lip service.